Dear Editor:Removing the rails to create the Rio Grande Trail from Glenwood Springs to Aspen is a mistake. There are numerous examples of rails-with-trails around the country, including a prime example in Denver. There, RTD, the local transit agency, banked an abandoned rail corridor for future light rail service. For twenty years a tourist trolley operated on the rusty tracks in the summertime, running next to a bike path installed by the city. Now a light rail line will be built along the corridor. Preserving the railroad tracks was key to maintaining the public legitimacy of the corridor for rail service. This is why many communities choose to leave the tracks in place when they install rail-trails.All of this is known by local officials, I suppose. It is well known that there are people who don’t want to see trains run between Glenwood Springs and Aspen. I find this view strange, given that such rail service is commonplace in mountain towns in Europe, and so obviously appreciated there. Not only would a rail line be much more efficient than buses and cars, it is also far friendlier to a small town environment. Pulling up the tracks now just because there are not capital funds currently available to construct a train is ignoring the nationwide, indeed worldwide, trend to establish new light rail lines. So much for environmental and social sustainability, to say nothing of all-weather, comfortable transportation.Adam KromPhiladelphia
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